Get to Know Your Employer
In late fall / early spring many of you are preparing for job interviews – either as summer field technicians or for longer-term positions following graduation. Based on conversation with students and potential employers, students (not just those at MSU) are forgetting a vital part of the interview process. Not only should you prepare for them to ask you interview questions but you need to research WHO your potential employer is. This will not only make you stand out, but will help you know if they are the type of employer you would want to work for. Before you interview you should DO YOUR RESEARCH and be sure to know the following (at the very least):
1) What skills and experience the potential employer is looking for and how your skills and experience align with these.
2) The key players within the organization – who they are and what they do. If you will meet and speak with these individuals during your interview, have a few starter talking points / questions that make it clear you know who they are and what they do.
3) Know the potential employers mission and values. Be able to align your own values and vision in conservation with their mission and values (if you cannot do this, you should not be working for the particular organization anyways).
4) Know who your stakeholders are. You will interact with the public in most wildlife related jobs, formally and/or informally. You need to show the potential employer you know whom your stakeholders will be and are prepared to interact with them.
5) Research the specific people who will be interviewing you (if given). In some cases, it would be appropriate to e-mail and ask who you will be interviewed by, if this is not provided. Have questions / speaking points that will demonstrate you know who they are. If you can find their picture, know what they look like. If you will be meeting others while at the interview, try and determine who they might be. If the employer’s employee base is relatively small, know everyone in the organization – what they do, what they look like, and be ready to converse with them about their role in the organization.
If you receive an interview for a job, you are already headed in the right direction. To stand out, you have to take the time to research your potential employer. So get out there, make a ‘study guide’, and good luck!
“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” – Arthur Ashe